Macau Grand Prix star Michael Rutter had no excuses after he was denied a tenth pole start at the famous event by Ian Hutchinson.

Rutter, who is seeking a ninth victory on the Guia street circuit on Saturday, was denied by five hundredths of a second following a final qualifying shootout with his Milwaukee Yamaha rival.

The SMT Honda rider had dominated free practice and the first qualifying session before Hutchinson's late surge to the number one spot.

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Rutter, though, graciously tipped his hat to Hutchinson, who is back in action competitively for the first time in almost 18 months.

"It was good to get behind him [Hutchinson] and try and do him on the last bit at the start and finish, but he pulled about four seconds on me," Rutter said.

"Fair play to him though, he's been through a lot. I've had a few poles here and I hope we can put a good race together tomorrow."